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How To Apply Eyeliner

How To Apply Eyeliner
Hollie Bradbury
Writer and expert3 years ago
View Hollie Bradbury's profile

Whether you’re looking to achieve a classic smokey eye, a winged out cat eye, or a simple line to make your eyelashes look fuller, good quality is eyeliner is all you need. We’ve previously outlined the best gel, pencil and liquid eyeliners and here we’ll be sharing our expert tips and tricks on how to apply eyeliner perfectly every time.

Expert Tips On How To Apply Eyeliner

Eyeliner can really transform any makeup look and makes all eye colours stand out and pop. You can experiment with different shades of eyeliner, as well as different formulations. When it comes to eyeliner application, it really does come down to that age-old saying, practice makes perfect. When you take the time to perfect your technique, it makes a precise eyeliner application much easier to achieve.

Which Eyeliner Should Beginners Use?

If you’re new to eyeliner application then we recommend starting out with a pencil eyeliner as the softer formula is much easier to control and correct mistakes. Sure, it doesn’t achieve a line quite as precise as a liquid eyeliner or gel eyeliner, however, it is great for smudging and smoking out for a classic smokey eye look.

How To Make Eyeliner Stay On All Day

Everything from the weather, to crying, can cause eyeliner to smudge, that is why we recommend using a waterproof eyeliner to help seal in your liner for a long-lasting finish no matter what the day throws at you.

Which Eyeliner Is Best For A Smokey Eye?

We recommend using a pencil eyeliner to achieve a smokey eye as the eyeliner is typically much softer and easy to blend. Apply your favourite pencil eyeliner as close as you can to the upper lashline before smudging out with a pencil brush or a dense eyeshadow brush. Smudge the eyeliner outwards towards to outer corner of your eye for a more defined cat-eye shape.

Pencil eyeliner is also ideal for applying within the waterline and tightline which are the inner rims around your eyes, this is called tight lining and is a great way to dial up the drama. Be sure to maintain a sharp tip on your pencil eyeliner to avoid a messy application and snagging the delicate skin around your eyes.

Which Eyeliner Is Best For Winged liner?

Liquid eyeliner is best suited to a winged liner look as the nib is typically much pointier and precise and the liner liquid is more opaque. To apply liquid eyeliner, firstly shake the pot to ensure the liner is well mixed. To achieve a winged liner look, there are two ways you can do this.

  1. Look directly into the mirror and add a dot on the outer corner of your eye where you’d like your wing to reach. Once you’re happy with the position of your dot, start to join the dot to your upper lash line and fill in as necessary.
  2. If you prefer to achieve a simple line, you may find it easier to start in the middle of your eyelid and slowly pull the liquid liner outwards to wing it out.

We’ve previously worked with professional makeup artist Daniel Sandler, to share his pro tips on winged liner which you can find here.

The Best Eyeliners

Now that we’ve established which kind of eyeliner is best suited to each application method, it’s time to choose an eyeliner to work with.

The best eyeliners for a cat-eye winged liner look

Looking for a liquid liner that is quick-drying and long-wearing? Add some definition to your eyes with the benefit Roller Liner. This matte liquid formulation glides onto your eyelids easily and smoothly without ever smudging, flaking or fading in vibrancy.

Achieve a killer feline flick with the Lottie London Precision Felt Eyeliner. The intensely pigmented, smudge-proof formula can be dialled up or down to create a thicker or finer classic cat-eye flick.

The best liquid eyeliners

The 3INA The Matte Pen Eyeliner is a highly-pigmented liquid eyeliner pen in soot-black with a 24-hour matte finish. This waterproof liner dries rapidly without smudging, creasing or bleeding. Feline flick? Sorted!

Whether you’re looking to achieve a simple line, a thick wing, or a mini flick, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Liner is the makeup bag staple you need. The waterproof formula comprises of a matte black pigment that won’t flake or fade.

The best eyeliner pencils for a smoky eye

Achieve a long-lasting eyeliner look with the wet n wild coloricon Kohl Eyeliner Pencil. For a long-lasting formula and a pigmented colour payoff, this creamy pencil liner is ideal for blending and smoking out thanks to its easy to work with formula.

You can call upon the Barry M Bold Waterproof Eyeliner to offer you a super-long-wearing creamy formula that lasts over 8 hours. This versatile waterproof eyeliner is also resistant to rain, sweat and tears.

Check out our guide to how to achieve a smoky eye.


Hollie Bradbury
Writer and expert
View Hollie Bradbury's profile
I've been writing about hair and beauty for over 10 years. I am a collector of vintage perfume and my go-to look always includes a bold pink lip! For more, visit